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Learning from These Airmen

A famous quote states “education is the key to success.” True, yes. Any person with a degree has a higher chance of getting a high paying job or has the capacity to build and manage his own business; but acquiring a degree while working full-time can be taxing and tedious. In spite of that, two airmen were able to get a degree and achieve their career goals while on active duty.

Master Sergeant Liesbeth Bowen, first sergeant from the 633rd Air Base Wing Staff Agency, and Major Liliana Henriquez, instructor from Oceana Dam Neck Annex Joint Targeting School Staff J7, shared how education helped shape their careers. With the assistance from the military service and the help of the Air Force Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) Scholarships, these two service members, which happened to be siblings, were able to finish their education and went on to work on their chosen career.

According to Bowen, her military career somehow created an impact in her education path wherein it was during her military service she realized she loves to teach. This master sergeant enlisted first as a medic in the neurology field in the Air Force in which she earned an applied science associate degree. She then took a course in project management. However, her goal shifted to taking a course in education after she became a professional instructor for military education for the Non Commissioned Officer Academy located at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida.

Being an instructor, Bowen developed and later on realized the desire to become a teacher. She said that she enjoyed and had pleasure in teaching even more. She even earned an associate degree in instruction of military science which deepened that desire. Shortly after earning her associate degree in human relations, she completed her master’s degree in education.

Bowen stated that during her time of service in the military, she learned that everything she did opened a door that led to another path she was not aware of. To her, it was her military career that opened her heart and made her realize her passion for teaching.

On the other hand, Henriquez was assigned in the Defense Intelligence Agency wherein she later became a targeteer instructor. To her, it was a career she never imagined choosing and never considered doing, but her military job made her love such assignment. She even added that it was just a single time she was assigned to such job and felt at first it was something she was not going to like, but later on, she was spending her entire career trying to get back to being a targeteer instructor.

Both of these women struggled on their education and goals because of their full-time work. They have already faced challenges and difficulties during childhood until adulthood especially while studying and at the same working in the military. To them, they had a lot to endure, to face and to go through.

But they never gave up on their dream, they even strived more despite the difficulties, the hardships and the challenges. Bowen even said that what made them get pass through the obstacles was that they thought of it as temporary. She boldly said that the moment you get on the other side, you just look back and learn from everything you have encountered and become an inspiration to those around you.

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